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If you are preparing to rent or sell your home, then you must obtain an energy performance certificate (EPC). One of the most significant financial and environmental impacts of residential properties is energy use. As global eco-consumer rates rise, buyers are searching for houses with positive EPC results.

You can increase the appeal and value of your home by improving its efficiency. There are various ways homeowners can minimize their energy waste areas. Before evaluating the efficiency-enhancing tactics, we must explore what EPCs are and their functions in the real estate sector.

 

What Is an Energy Performance Certificate?

EPCs signify the energy efficiency of a property. They help individuals buy and sell real estate transparently. The certificates hold information about power costs, electricity-intensive appliances, energy loss architectural features, and ways to improve a home’s efficiency.

The EPC system rates the energy efficiency of buildings based on an A-G scale. An A-rated home is between 92% and 100% efficient with low utility costs. A G-rated building has multiple defects causing significant energy loss and high monthly power costs.

In 2020, the U.K. government established a regulation requiring landlords to keep their properties above an E rating. Officials can restrict owners from renting out their homes if they are unable to improve their EPC ratings. The certificate accounts for all systems connected or related to electric and gas supplies.

EPCs also display the potential emission and cost reductions a property could achieve by increasing its efficiency. There are various steps homeowners can take to enhance the sustainability of their properties. Before evaluating the energy-saving technology and architectural features, we must assess the common environmental challenges with residential properties.

Why Get an EPC?

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There are various reasons homeowners should receive an EPC. In many countries, the government requires individuals to access an up-to-date certificate to sell their homes. The document also informs individuals of underlying efficiency challenges, helping them save money by conducting improvements.

Homeowners can significantly decrease their monthly energy costs after receiving an assessment. They may also reduce their personal emissions, improving local air quality and minimizing atmospheric degradation. Inhaling ground-level emissions from fossil fuels can increase one’s risk of lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.

When you improve your property’s energy use and install renewable systems, you can protect your community’s health. Additionally, EPCs help the U.K. achieve its sustainability goals. The U.K. adopted the Climate Change Act in 2019, anticipating reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The goal requires all residents to take action and shrink their carbon footprints. Minimizing residential emissions can significantly increase atmospheric conservation, enhancing global environmental sustainability.

 

How to Order an EPC

You can schedule your EPC assessment by contacting the Domestic Energy Assessors organization. Before signing up for a certificate assessment, it is essential to evaluate the different options in your area. You may receive multiple quotes to access the most cost-effective EPC.

It is also essential to schedule your assessment on a day when you are available. The credited professional conducts a thorough search of your property, and they may need you to show them around. Producing the EPC is time-efficient, and homeowners can expect their documents to arrive in the mail or electronically.

You can also reach out to the assessor after receiving your results. They may break down the data for you, helping you improve the efficiency of your property. Once individuals receive and understand their certificates, they can utilize them to improve a real estate sale.

 

How Should You Use an EPC?

EPCs help various individuals differently. Homeowners can use the document to reduce their energy reliance, improving personal sustainability levels. Real estate professionals may utilize the information to increase their ability to sell a property.

A-rated homes will sell quickly compared to C- or D-ranked properties. Additionally, buyers can enhance their understanding of EPCs to increase the sustainability of real estate investments. Whether you are buying or selling a property, exploring its energy efficiency is essential.

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EPC Ratings by City

On April 1st 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into force. This required all properties being let or sold in England and Wales to have a minimum EPC rating of ‘E’ or above.

The government has proposed that all rental properties will need an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above by 2025. Similar to the previous changes, the new regulations will be introduced for new tenancies first, followed by all tenancies from 2028.

Summary:

  • 5.9%, 1,711,000 homes, fall below the current government requirements of an EPC rating of E and above for let or sold properties
  • 39.92%, 11,576,800 homes, have an EPC rating of A-C (proposed government minimum requirements by 2025)
  • 0.21%, 609,000 homes, have an EPC rating of A
  • South Cambridgeshire, Breckland, Cambridge have the highest % of properties with an EPC rating of A
  • Tower Hamlets, City of London, Hackney have the highest % of properties with an EPC rating of A-C (proposed government minimum requirements by 2025)
  • Gwynedd, Castle Point, Pendle have the least amount of properties with an EPC rating of A-C (proposed government minimum requirements by 2025)
  • Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, Ceredigion have the most amount of properties with an EPC rating less than E (below current government standards)

 

Average EPC ratings across all homes

 

% of Properties with an EPC rating of A % of Properties with an EPC rating of B % of Properties with an EPC rating of C % of Properties with an EPC rating of D % of Properties with an EPC rating of E % of Properties with an EPC rating of F % of Properties with an EPC rating of G
0.21% 11.82% 27.75% 38.12% 16.16% 4.50% 1.44%

 

Which cities/towns currently have the most A rated properties?

 

# Local Authority % of properties with an EPC rating of A
1 South Cambridgeshire 1.43%
2 Breckland 1.32%
3 Cambridge 1.13%
4 South Norfolk 0.96%
5 Tewkesbury 0.85%
6 Malvern Hills 0.84%
7 South Hams 0.83%
8 Exeter 0.80%
9 Pembrokeshire 0.79%
10 Selby 0.78%
11 North Northamptonshire 0.78%
12 North Somerset 0.76%
13 Broadland 0.75%
14 East Hampshire 0.73%
15 Winchester 0.69%
16 Cherwell 0.69%
17 North Devon 0.66%
18 Wychavon 0.62%
19 Wolverhampton 0.57%
20 Warwick 0.57%
21 Leicester 0.56%
22 Milton Keynes 0.55%
23 Tandridge 0.55%
24 Wakefield 0.52%

 

Which cities/towns have the most EPC ratings of A-C (proposed government minimum requirements by 2025)

 

# Local Authority % of properties with a EPC rating between A-C
1 Tower Hamlets 72.08%
2 City of London 60.41%
3 Hackney 58.23%
4 North Northamptonshire 57.96%
5 Salford 57.87%
6 Southwark 57.65%
7 West Northamptonshire 56.38%
8 Milton Keynes 56.30%
9 Basingstoke and Deane 55.13%
10 Greenwich 54.68%
11 Peterborough 54.13%
12 Islington 53.78%
13 Telford and Wrekin 52.88%
14 Knowsley 52.87%
15 Buckinghamshire 52.56%
16 Dartford 52.53%
17 Corby 52.46%
18 Vale of White Horse 52.18%
19 Swindon 51.75%
20 Crawley 51.32%
21 Bracknell Forest 51.05%
22 Cambridge 50.86%
23 Eastleigh 50.84%
24 Westminster 50.64%
25 Colchester 50.24%

 

Cities/towns with the least amount of properties with an EPC rating of A-C (proposed government minimum requirements by 2025)

 

# Local Authority % of properties with a EPC rating between A-C
1 Gwynedd 21.99%
2 Castle Point 23.41%
3 Pendle 23.65%
4 Ceredigion 24.00%
5 Isle of Anglesey 24.40%
6 Blackpool 25.26%
7 Denbighshire 25.66%
8 Burnley 25.69%
9 Hyndburn 25.86%
10 Staffordshire Moorlands 27.11%
11 Southend-on-Sea 27.33%
12 Powys 27.70%
13 Barrow-in-Furness 27.75%
14 Conwy 27.85%
15 Eden 27.92%
16 Carmarthenshire 28.47%
17 East Lindsey 28.47%
18 North Norfolk 28.93%
19 Broxtowe 29.03%
20 South Lakeland 29.24%
21 Copeland 29.60%
22 Calderdale 29.99%
23 Richmondshire 30.00%
24 Rhondda Cynon Taf 30.35%
25 Oadby and Wigston 30.47%
26 North East Lincolnshire 30.51%

 

Cities/towns with the most properties with a EPC rating of less than E (lower than current government standards)

 

# Local Authority % of properties with a EPC rating lower than E
1 Gwynedd 24.61%
2 Isle of Anglesey 22.12%
3 Ceredigion 21.59%
4 Eden 18.75%
5 Powys 18.67%
6 West Devon 16.90%
7 Cornwall 15.86%
8 Carmarthenshire 15.70%
9 Ryedale 15.48%
10 Torridge 15.37%
11 Pembrokeshire 14.02%
12 South Hams 13.99%
13 Richmondshire 13.95%
14 Denbighshire 13.36%
15 South Lakeland 12.79%
16 East Lindsey 12.51%
17 North Norfolk 12.36%
18 Mid Devon 12.32%
19 Herefordshire, County of 12.23%
20 Derbyshire Dales 12.00%
21 Forest of Dean 11.96%
22 Conwy 11.95%
23 North Devon 11.70%
24 Malvern Hills 11.03%
25 King’s Lynn and West Norfolk 10.95%

Sources: Rentround, Gov.UK: Energy Performance of Buildings Certificates published alongside the Energy Performance of Buildings Certificates Statistical release October to December 2021

Ecological Challenges With Residential Properties

Globally, society sources nearly 84% of its energy from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas. Some residential devices and systems run on electricity deriving from “dirty” power and other sources. During combustion, they release greenhouse gas emissions into the environment.

The gases invade the atmosphere, changing its composition and ability to regulate surface temperatures. Earth relies on the atmosphere to produce enough heat, supporting the global ecosystem. Without human interference, the planet can effectively maintain habitats, resources, and other vital elements.

Naturally, Earth produces heat from sunlight, warming the surface. It also reabsorbs excess energy and sends it to space. When greenhouse gases pollute the atmosphere, they compromise the balance of this system and trap extra energy on Earth. Emissions raise the global temperature over time. As Earth becomes warmer, it causes a ripple effect of ecological degradation.

Nearly 20% of emissions in developed countries like the U.S. come from the residential sector. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, lights, appliances, and structural design are the major contributing factors to a home’s sustainability level. Individuals can shrink their properties’ carbon footprints by receiving an energy assessment and making necessary efficiency-enhancing changes.

EPCs effectively help homeowners decrease their environmental impacts, increasing conservation efforts. Individuals can effectively access their residential energy information by evaluating the report producers in their countries. Different regions have their own EPC regulations, altering the assessment process.

 

Who Produces Energy Reports and EPCs?

Homeowners can effectively increase the sustainability of their properties by retrieving accurate energy information. Energy reports and EPCs display the data from a professional’s assessment. In England, North Ireland, and Wales, accredited energy assessors create EPCs.

In Scotland, Scottish government-approved companies can create valid EPCs. Individuals in the country may ask a professional to conduct a home report, accessing their EPCs and energy reports. Both documents increase one’s ability to sell their property.

You can locate an assessor near you using the central register, displaying all accredited organizations. The system divides companies by postcode, increasing a homeowner’s access to necessary energy information.

Each country’s EPCs are different. While the assessment process and physical representation of the data may differ, all certifications reflect the same information. They cover a home’s current and potential energy use and performance and offer efficiency-enhancing recommendations.

 

Current and Potential Energy

Annually, U.K. homeowners use about 4,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity on average. They also use nearly 12,400 kWh of gas, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. An EPC’s first page highlights a property’s electricity and gas consumption.

Assessors develop a current and potential energy estimate, helping future buyers calculate their monthly bills. It also portrays a home’s potential utility costs when individuals improve its efficiency. The certification mainly represents the energy use of a property’s heating system, water heater, and lights.

Under the specified energy data, the EPC displays a table comparing the home to others with similar ratings. You can evaluate a home’s current and potential letter label, helping buyers find their best financial and ecological fit. In some regions, assessors also display an A-G rating specifically for a home’s environmental performance.

The section following the table also displays the potential energy ranking when taking the suggested efficiency-enhancing steps. EPCs additionally provide a detailed breakdown of a home’s energy ratings, exploring each system’s monthly costs and power use. Real estate professionals can utilize performance information to increase a property’s buyer appeal.

 

Performance

The performance section of an EPC appears on the following page. It displays the energy consumption of a home’s HVAC system, water heater, and lights. When individuals are searching for a property, they can compare the efficiency of each house’s devices to identify structural challenges.

If an HVAC system uses an excessive amount of energy, it may signify an insulation problem. A home’s building materials also affect its efficiency. Properties with brick walls use significantly more power compared to sheetrock and wooden walls with sufficient insulation.

Properly insulated roofs also enhance a home’s energy performance. Detached properties can save almost £400 on utility costs annually. The section also determines the sustainability of each system and feature.

Buyers can calculate their potential carbon footprints as residents by exploring the EPC’s performance section. Some certificates also explore the compatibility of a home’s heating system with renewable energy. Real estate agents may have an easier time selling a property with clean electricity potential.

 

Recommendations

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The final section of an EPC is the recommendations. It is arguably the most essential part of the document because it provides potential buyers and sellers with agency. Suggestions help individuals improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing their utility costs and shrinking their carbon footprints.

Certificates display the energy reduction recommendations in order of importance. Buyers and owners may improve a property’s efficiency following the order for optimal results. Many EPC recommendations begin with system-enhancing home alterations like adding insulation.

Following the structural changes are appliance improvements. Many certifications suggest adding light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs to a home. LED bulbs consume nearly 75% less energy compared to incandescent lights. They also last 25 times longer, producing less landfill waste over time.

The final recommendations highlight energy source alterations. If a property receives its electricity from the fossil-fuel-driven grid, the EPC may suggest installing a renewable energy system.

When you follow all the recommendations, you can effectively develop an A-rated property. There are various ways individuals can increase a home’s energy efficiency. While each property is different, all may benefit from adding the design features, systems, and appliances listed below.

 

Ways to Increase a Property’s Energy Efficiency

One of the most effective ways to reduce a home’s energy consumption is by adding loft and cavity wall insulation. Properties lose a significant amount of electricity and gas from HVAC systems when poorly insulated. Because heat rises, it is essential to repair damaged roofs and gaps and add an air-confining lining.

Similarly, properties lose energy from their garages. Outdated and damaged garage doors can allow conditioned air to escape. Different door materials may improve your home’s efficiency rating.

Wood, steel, and aluminium doors both improve a property’s insulation and its curbside appeal. Adding a new garage door can increase your EPC rating and your ability to sell your home. Individuals may also replace their gas-powered water heaters with electric models to enhance their property’s sustainability.

Oil and gas-reliant systems create significant quantities of greenhouse gas emissions. Electric versions are more eco-friendly and efficient because they are compatible with renewable energy systems. You can achieve an A ranking on your EPC by installing solar panels on your roof.

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels absorb sunlight into their cells. The light knocks electrons free, producing a current of energy. Wires collect and filter the energy, creating an emission-free electricity source.

You can effectively support your home’s energy needs with solar power by installing efficient appliances and systems. PV technology has a relatively lower efficiency level compared to fossil fuels, however, requiring individuals to reduce stress on the system by conserving energy draw where they can. Homeowners may increase the compatibility of their properties with renewable energy by installing smart thermostats to help with this.

Smart thermostats connect to your home’s HVAC system, regulating indoor temperatures. They use a Wi-Fi connection to access local weather predictions and adjust a home’s heat and AC settings. Additionally, the device uses motion detection sensors to monitor a house’s occupancy, turning systems off when no one is home.

Over time, minimal energy conservation efforts can make a significant impact, improving a property’s efficiency levels. Environmental engineers and scientists also developed smart shades to increase a home’s EPC ranking. The blinds increase a house’s reliance on natural light instead of artificial, energy-reliant options.

Smart shades use light monitors and weather readings to improve natural lighting indoors. The technology also connects to a homeowner’s smartphone, creating remote access through an application. Individuals can use the app connection to close the shades when they are out of the house, saving AC-related energy.

All Energy Star-rated appliances, like washing machines and refrigerators, also minimize a property’s energy reliance.

When you upgrade your home’s technology and structural design, you can improve your ability to sell it. Similarly, buyers may search for properties with energy-efficient features to shrink their carbon footprints and minimize their utility costs.

 

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